Last start Geelong Cup winner Gatewood is the top fancy for the 2012 Lexus Stakes at Flemington’s Victoria Derby Day this weekend, the winner of which is likely to gain the green light for a run in next Tuesday’s highly anticipated $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The John Gosden-trained British raider may have been defeated first-up when a luckless seventh to French visitor Shahwardi in the Group 1 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) but they showed their true form when the Galileo five-year-old won the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 24.
Now 33rd on the Melbourne Cup order of entry the galloper needs to win the $200,000 Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) on Saturday to make the 24-horse field for the world’s richest handicap.
And the bookies are backing them to do just that with Gatewood, currently a $26 shot in the Melbourne Cup odds, at a short $3 in the Lexus Stakes betting odds at bookmaker.com.au.
Drawn to perfection in gate three Glen Boss retains the ride on the Cup hope on Saturday in a race that has produced the past two Melbourne Cup winners with internationals Dunaden (2011) and Americain (2010) having both completed the Geelong – Melbourne Cup double.
Boss will be trying his heart out to get Gatewood over the line first in the Lexus and improve his chances of having a ride in the ‘race that stops a nation’ which he won for three successive years aboard champion mare Makybe Diva (2003-05).
“I’m pretty confident I can get Gatewood into the Melbourne Cup,” Boss said.
“But then they will monitor him, see how he pulls up, and they have about four hours after the race on Saturday to make a decision whether to pay up for Tuesday.
“If Gatewood doesn’t get into the Cup, then I’m some chance of riding Green Moon. But there’s still some doubt about that horse running, too.
“So I could end up without a Cup ride. If that happened, I’d be disappointed. But it’s not the end of the world.”
There are then four other stayers under $10 in the Lexus Stakes odds with:
- #6 Excluded ($5.50) – Quality High Chaparral five-year-old from the in-form trainer-owner duo of Hickmott and Williams, looked in fine form last start when a close second in the Herbert Power over 2400m, improvement on that expected at Flemington where they won back in September
- #12 Dare To Dream ($6) – This horse may be yet to pass the first elimination clause for the Melbourne Cup but the bookies are never ones to turn their backs on the maestro Bart Cummings who prepares this Danehill Dancer four-year-old out to improve on a 7th at Randwick, Melbourne to suite the English import much better
- #8 Exceptionally ($7.50) – Nice gate four draw for another horse that should relish this track after a disappointing seventh failing to beat home any of their rivals or come within eight lengths of the winner Gatewood in the Geelong Cup last time out
- #2 Tanby ($9) – Another Robert Hickmott-trained, Lloyd Williams-owned galloper, comes off a win at this track & distance having taken out the Listed The Bart Cummings here a month ago
Other longer-priced hopefuls that will also be gunning for the Melbourne Cup ballot exemption in the Lexus include the Chris Waller-trained The Metropolitan runner-up Kelinni ($11) to make their Melbourne debut, and another in-form Sydneysider Reuben Percival ($12) from the stables of Gai Waterhouse who comes off a good second in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m).
The full 2012 Lexus Stakes betting odds can be found below, all prices correct at time of publication and courtesy of the country’s leading online bookie bookmaker.com.au.
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2012 Lexus Stakes Odds
Flemington Race 2 – 12:00pm (AEST) – 03/11/2012
|7||REUBEN PERCIVAL (5)||12.00|
|9||DAME CLAIRE (6)||41.00|
|10||FICTIONAL ACCOUNT (1)||61.00|
|12||DARE TO DREAM (10)||6.00|
|13||PEAL OF BELLS (8)||41.00|
*Fixed Win odds provided by bookmaker.com.au and subject to change